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Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

Do Our Pets and Animals go to Heaven?
-by Tony Warren


his is a question which is asked more frequently as people today seem to be treating their beasts more like humans, and humans more like beasts. Will there be animals in heaven? Everyone can understand that when a beloved animal dies it is a natural reaction to feel some sorrow and anguish because of the loss. But we must not confuse emotion and human feelings, with biblical principles. On this earth, we know only in part, and so we often neglect to address the question in light of the Bible, and fail to comprehend that all living things in this world (besides man), are temporal. That includes organisms, insects, plants, reptiles, and animals. These things are a part of God's magnificent creation, but they do not have an immortal soul. It is only the spirits of men which are immortal spirits. Emotionalism notwithstanding, the spirits of men are the only spirits which partake in the resurrection to life after death.

Revelation 20:13-14

  • "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
  • And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
The souls of 'men' are raised up, not animals. They that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29). There is nothing in scripture that has ever declared that the spirits of animals go to heaven. This idea is based upon emotionalism and wishful (if not wistful) thinking by today's liberal philosophers and theologians. So when the question arises, "Do animals go to heaven," the only Biblical conclusion that we can come to is, no.

The Judeo-Christian Church belief has historically been that animals were created primarily for human use, and they lack the immortal and rational souls which would afford them eternity in Heaven. What has changed in modern times is that emotion has replaced 'teachings based on authority of scripture,' and human feelings replaced the system of law. The same emotionalism (rather than sound hermeneutics), which has ravaged other historical Church doctrines in recent years. Many professing Christians judge truth by what 'seems' right for God to do (in their own eyes), even forging such bonds between themselves and their beasts that they cannot even fathom a heaven which would not include their beloved animals. To hear them speak, it is almost as if they will look upon God as unrighteous if He won't save their pet animals. It's just part and parcel of the same arrogant 'me mentality' which is sweeping over most of our Churches today, and degrading the historical Church. The rebellious attitude that life is all about how I feel, or about what I want, or about how I see things.

Man's spiritual eyes should never be focused on his pets (indeed, upon himself) where he loves the creation more than the creator. His eyes should be squarely on the great Shepherd, and the commission we have been given to feed His Sheep. That should be our hope, and that is what is lacking in our Churches today. The thought of spending eternity along with our beloved pets may be a temporal comfort as we are in the flesh, but we are losing sight of where our real joy and comfort should come from. It doesn't come from me and my relationship to my pet in heaven, or even my loved ones in heaven, but my relationship with Christ.

Luke 20:34-35

  • "And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
  • But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:"
There are no animals in heaven. Heaven is not like the earth where there are human needs and interactions with the creation. In heaven, people neither marry or are given in marriage, because these are earthly, temporal things, which are not important in Heaven.

The view that the souls of animals come into heaven just as the souls of people, is without one piece of Biblical validation. The unpalatable truth is that animals are really insignificant in the big scheme of things, such as eternity, or standing in the presence of God. For now we see through a glass, darkly (1st Cor. 13:12), but in that great day of the Lord, we will know even as we are known, and thus understand that animals ceasing to exist is the best thing for them. They have no suffering, no pain, no sorrow, no remembrance. If we should spend our time in this world in concern for those with the breath of life, it must be for man, who unless converted, will (unlike animals) be in suffering and pain. This is where our concerns and energies should be directed. To save man from torment, not implying God is wrong for causing beasts to cease to exist. Somewhere our priorities have become skewed, and we have forgotten our commission.

And when that happens it is easy for man to mould animals into his likeness. It's when a pet becomes a substitutionary human of sorts, and so it's its death is often felt as grievously as if an actual family member had died. The grief that is felt is the return of them feeling unloved and empty. There are a myriad of people in this world who 'unrepentantly' show more concern for animals, than they do for the souls of the people in the world. this is not uncommon among those people who are not true Christians. This isn't Christ-like, it's world-like. If we remember our pets in heaven, it will be with joy, because then we will know even as we are known, and will thus understand what this robe of flesh prevented us from understanding. Namely, God's ultimate purpose for all things on earth, and the difference between this world, and eternity in heaven. What many cannot see in this life is that their attachment to animals is often a misplaced need for love. That is to say, many people, feeling unloved among their own kind, substitute their pets to combat the emptiness.

It truly seems quite silly to some people for a child to be upset that his or her pet ants, fish or hamster won't go to heaven, but there are many adults who think this exact same way. Neither pet mice, fish, pigs, birds, dogs, or any living creatures (besides man) goes to heaven. There is not the slightest indication that this is not the case, despite some innovative scripture manipulating. God has never said, implied, or alluded to anything which would bring man to such a self-serving conclusion. One of the most basic of hermeneutic principles, is that we cannot argue a doctrine from silence. We can't say the scriptures don't say animals won't be in heaven, therefore they will. But from the preponderance of biblical evidence, we can declare that only that soul purged from sin in Christ, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So, Do animals go to heaven? No, for only those creatures for whom Christ died, and who are free from any stain of sin, can enter heaven.

1st Peter 3:18

  • "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
Christ brings man's spirit to God. It is a ludicrous way of formulating doctrine to declare that, because it doesn't say He doesn't, therefore Christ brings the souls of animals to God also. But that is the way this belief has often been perpetrated upon the naive. The reality is, people come to this belief 'apart' from God's Word, not because of it. God's focus is on the everlasting souls of people, the salvation of man, and their later habitation in the Kingdom. It is not for souls of beasts, insects, birds or reptiles. Christians need not worry about these pets or animals, for though they do not go to heaven, they also do not go to Hell. They cease to exist because unlike man, they were 'not' created in the image of God that they could conform to Christ to live and reign in his presence.

Genesis 1:26-27

  • "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
What many do not understand is that mankind is a 'unique creation,' with exclusive properties which animals do not possess. Because man was made in the image or likeness of God, he is a living rational spirit able to think, reason, know and devise, because he is like God. As opposed to animals who are simply living spirits. That is to say, creatures with the breath of life. There is a difference, and that difference is what separates man from the beasts. When God created man, He placed in Him something animals do not have. An everlasting being or essence, which most people call the eternal soul. The belief that animals possess a rational souls or the everlasting being which man has, is untenable. Beasts are unquestionably not made in the likeness or image of God. Moreover, it would be unlawful and barbaric to slaughter these blessed creatures (assuming they went to heaven) or animals for food, clothing, or anything else if they were rational souls. The historic Church understood this, because God commanded animals to be slaughtered for food, sacrifice, and offerings. But carnal man today chooses to 'ignore' everything which doesn't support their own vain thinking.

Leviticus 11:2

  • "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth."
God most certainly is not telling man he can eat the bodies of rational souls which will enter into the kingdom of heaven. God Forbid! There is not the slightest indication that these animals do anything but provide for man whom God has placed over them, and then they expire, or cease to exist. And who art thou O man to reply against God 'as if' this is unrighteous? The problem with man is that he likes to 'read into' scripture what seems right in his own eyes, according to his own will, and his own ideas, rather than simply read, and as the more noble Bereans, absorb what is read.

All flesh is from the dust, but it is only man who has been made in God's likeness a devising soul that he is able to think, know, decide, reason, and judge. It is this spirit which gives man his accountability before God. An accountability animals do not have. The Hebrew word for soul is [nephesh], meaning that which has the 'breath' in it, and is used in the Old Testament in reference to both animals and man, in the sense that they both have the breath of life. e.g.,

Genesis 2:7

  • "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
However, when most Christians use the word soul today, they are not referring to simply any creature with the 'breath' of life, they are referring to the 'spirit' or essence of man which is eternal, and not to this soul which is merely the breath of life. The difference between man and beast is that man has both the soul which is the breath of life, and the spirit, which is man's essence which exists after this life. Animals do not have the human reasoning spirit. i.e., they do not possess the immortal spirit which exists beyond life. And there is not one jot or tittle from God which says they do.

As far as the body is concerned, both animal and man are made of dust, and when they die, in their bodies they are buried and return to the dust. But the essence (Spirit) of man goes up to God, while the animal goes downward absorbed into the dust he was buried in. Two distinct destinations for man and beast. As also is illustrated in:

Ecclesiastes 3:19-21

  • "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
  • All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
  • Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?"
The non-eternal spirit of animals, and the immortal spirit of men, and they take two separate and distinct paths at death. Because man is made in the image of God, he goes upward, but the spirits of beasts are absorbed by the earth. i.e., they cease to exist. And in point of fact, it is because he has this rational soul that man can justly be cast into Hell, and animals are not. Animals simply return to the dust when their life on this earth is over. By contrast, God's Word makes it abundantly clear that the souls of men and women will live for eternity, either in the Kingdom of heaven, or in the Hell of the lake of Fire.

If we are going to let the Bible be our final rule of faith and authority on matters (rather than our own will), we realize that there are certain criteria which God has established for anyone entering the Kingdom of heaven. Can a Cow, Dog, Cat, Horse, Bird, or any animal for that matter, meet the criteria that God declares we must do to inherit the Kingdom, or is eternal life ordained for man alone?

Matthew 1:21

  • "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
This does not imply they will call Him Jesus because He will save animals from sin, but People. And specifically, His people. Christ came that People could inherit the kingdom of Heaven, not animals. That is the whole basis of Christianity. That we merit Heaven 'by the work of Christ.' He hung on the cross for us. It is clear, without this merit, nothing on this earth can enter into the Kingdom of heaven. It is vain arrogance or pride, not humility, which implies God's love depends on Him Saving animals. This is also sin. God converts men that they may enter heaven, not animals. And that is something the prideful do not comprehend. It's not about our will, or what we desire, it's about God's Will. It always has been.

Matthew 18:3

  • "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Can an animal become as little children in Jesus Christ, and be converted? The answer is no, they are not humans, they are beasts of the field. Can a dog believe in God to inherit life, or were animals created as a help, for meat, to be used in sacrifices, and for the temporal service of man, whom God has placed to rule (genesis 1:27-28) over them? The answer is obvious.

John 3:5-6

  • "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  • That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Can an animal be born again of the Spirit? The only rational answer is no. Is an animal clean? God says no. In fact, In scripture God uses dogs and Pigs to illustrate that which is unclean. Can anything be cleansed without blood. Again, God says no. Therefore, for an animal to enter heaven, Christ would have had to die for them as well. And when we start thinking like that, we start having to add to scripture, and making up our own laws and rules to support our thoughts. We've then fallen from Grace and are making an image of God, rather than worshipping the God of the Bible.

As indeed some have done in that they have gone off the deep end completely, becoming fanatics who have arbitrarily decided that man should not kill any beast at all. Not even cows, rats, birds, snakes, or harmful insects. We should understand that this effort has nothing to do with Christianity, or love, or compassion (as it's portrayed), but everything to do with self, ego, modernity, and liberal philosophies. These aren't virtues of the righteous, they are man made religions serving a man made god. For all practical purposes, they serve idols in their own image rather than the image of the God of the Bible.

Another defense of this doctrine is to claim that the four Beasts in heaven (Revelation 6), or the white Horses (Revelation 19) proves animals will be in heaven. However, this argument is quite dubious, as it is quite obvious, even to the novice reader, that these are 'symbolic images' in a vision John is having, and not literal animals anymore than God has a literal sword protruding from His mouth, or that He is a literal Lamb, or that there was a literal Dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns. As previously stated, the fact is, animals were subject to the curse which God placed upon creation because of Adamís sin. And so not being cleansed by the blood of Christ, it seems clear animals do not go to heaven.

All this being the case, the real question for Christians should not be one of, "will animals go to heaven," but of if we are spending our time on this earth in concern for the souls of men. We should ask ourselves, are we feeding the spiritually poor, are we clothing the spiritually naked, and are we taking in the spiritually destitute?

So then, what exactly is our responsibility to animals as God's created inhabitants of the World? It is important to remember that just because animals do not go to heaven, does not mean that man is entitled to treat them shamefully, or with unnecessary cruelty or viciousness. The Bible is not silent concerning cruelty to animals.

Proverbs 12:10

  • "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
The point being, an unrighteous man regardeth not the life of his beast, but a righteous man does. For in handling God's creation wisely and in respect, we not only reveal our understanding of our new nature, but our Christianity or Christ-like virtue. In the way in which we use what God has given us to rule over, we are examples.

1st Corinthians 10:31

  • "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
How we handle this world that has been placed under our care, and the many creatures which God has given us rule over, is a beacon of light showing our life in Christ. We should always do all (whatsoever it be), to the Glory of God! We do not treat animals cruelly or inhumanely, we have a healthy respect for the life of our beasts, and indeed all God's creation.

    And may the Lord who is Gracious above all guide us into the truth of understanding these questions, in the light of His most Holy Word.

Amen!

Peace,

Copyright ©2001 Tony Warren
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Created 4/10/01 / Last Modified 4/30/01
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